Need help with a 150 gallon stock tank for southern painted turtles


New Member
Apr 25, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
Frostburg, MD
I have 2 - southern painted turtles that are 10 months old right now. They have been in a 55 gallon the past 6 months with a water temp of 80. I slowly raised the aquarium water level to where it is within 4 inches to the top and they have been climbing to a basking station on top. They seem to be very strong swimmers and are able to handle the current from my penn plax 1500 cascade filter.

I have set up a 150 gallon stock tank on my patio. I placed a 500 watt heater to keep the water temp more consistent around 75. I am using a jebao dct-4000 submersible pump and running the water to a homemade filter in an 18 gallon tote. A large piece of flat cork bark for basking.

I have the following floating plants available- water spangle, dwarf water lettuce, frogbit, red root, and hornwort. I also have the following live bearers I could add - mollies, platies, swordtails and mosquito fish.

I will add pics of what I have so far when I get home from work.

Links for the heater and pump:

Looking for suggestions or recommendations for the following:
1. Does the overall outdoor set up I have so far seem appropriate for these turtles?
2. Any recommendations to help fry proof the submersible pump? I see bags to cover the entire pump or wonder if it would be safe to install a coarse pre-filter to the inlet. Not sure if the turtles would try to eat it. Would love any other suggestions if possible.
3. Really need ideas to create a lid.
4. The water returning to the pond is causing the surface to be completely covered with air bubbles. Thought I saw where someone used some type of floating ring to keep the surface clear.
5. Should I secure the basking cork or is it ok if it free floats?
6. As young turtles, do I need to bring them back inside if the air temps drop to a certain level during the summer? They will come back inside in the fall to winter over.

This stock tank will be used as their setup in my basement during the cold months.
Last edited:


New Member
Aug 10, 2020
Location (City and/or State)
How big are the turtles?

1. Depending on temperatures I would think you wouldn't need a heater outside during the summer in your location.
2. I don't know about those bags to go over the pump, I have heard of at least one turtle getting trapped in one of those bags. I have a DIY filter on one of my stock tanks and I don't have the pump covered at all. In one youtube video I watched the person used a small plastic basket from the dollar store to cover the pump, so that might be an option.
3. For a lid, you could take strong chicken wire and add wood around the edges to make a sort of lid. If that makes sense.
4. Not sure what to do about the surface bubbles.
5. Personally I would try to secure the cork bark.
6. I would think at this point in the year you could leave them outside until fall.

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